Leading British nutrition experts have unveiled the Top 10 secrets of healthy weight loss – allowing us to shed the pounds for life, not just for January. We have some expert advice from the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) to ensure this year you keep your New Year resolutions.
As we get older we are more likely to be deficient in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals due to less efficient absorption, so it is more important than ever to keep our nutrient intake up even when trying to manage our weight. Plenty of antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables can also help us ward off the diseases associated with ageing so we can enjoy life to the full.
Top 10 Secrets of Healthy Weight Loss:
1. Don’t be afraid of fat: there are good fats and bad fats. Good fats are essential for the body and are particularly good for keeping our brains and joints healthy as we get older. Good fats include those found in oily fish such as salmon or mackerel. Bad fats should be avoided, especially trans fats found in many biscuits and cakes.
2. Don’t skip meals: the body needs a regular supply of fuel. If you skip meals it sends your blood sugar and energy plummeting leaving you tired and hungry. The regular consumption of fresh food is also particularly important as we get older to keep vitamin and mineral levels in our bodies topped-up.
3. Sleep: sleep can be a problem as we get older so choose magnesium rich foods such as leafy green vegetables to help aid restful sleep. When we are tired we eat more and reach for instant energy fixes from caffeine, sugar and fat.
4. Eat protein with every meal and snack: protein is essential for the body to renew and repair, it also keeps you feeling fuller for longer, keeping hunger pangs at bay. Choose protein-rich fish, chicken, lean meats or beans and pulses with your meals and snacks.
5. Switch white foods to brown: white pasta, white rice and white bread provide very few nutrients and are quickly broken down in the body to sugar, leaving you hungry again soon after eating and craving sugar as a pick-me-up.
6. Reduce stimulants: Stimulants like tea and coffee consumed for an energy boost actually have the opposite effect. They give you an energy boost, followed by a corresponding dip, leaving you lacking energy and looking for your next caffeine ‘fix’. Keep to one cup a day or choose water or herbal tea as healthier options.
7. Deal with stress: it wreaks havoc with hormones slowing down your metabolism and making the body store more fat – especially around the middle. Try to relax when you eat, chew your food and focus on what you are eating rather than reading or watching TV.
8. Eat five or six times a day: have three healthy meals and two or three healthy snacks a day, this will give you sustained nutrients and energy for the day, keeping hunger pangs at bay.
9. Stop calorie counting: listen to your body rather than count the calories, eat slowly and stop eating when you stop feeling hungry and keep portion sizes under control.
10. Exercise: this is important for overall health as well as a support to maintaining a healthy weight. Start slowly with a brisk walk in the park or get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way.
To find your local Nutritional Therapist, go to www.bant.org.uk, or call 0870 606 1284